February 5, 2011By Paul Molinaro
Don't let lenders get away with it!

Do you have a mortgage on your California primary residence with Bank of America (including Countrywide ), Chase , Wells Fargo , PNC , City National , Citibank , Morgan Stanley , OneWest , GMAC , or one of several other large financial financial lenders, and meet the following three criteria?

(1) APPLIED for a loan modification; and

(2) APPROVED for, and COMPLETED , a trial modification; and

(3) DENIED for a permanent modification,

If so, the Law Offices of Fransen & Molinaro, LLP invites you to read the rest of this web page and visit www.fransenandmolinaro.com to learn more about our representation in multi-plaintiff lawsuits.


(1) Why and When Are Loan Modification Lawsuits Based on the Three Criteria above Appropriate?

In the last few years, many distressed California homeowners/borrowers have tried desperately to get loan modifications from their lenders/banks. While a few lucky homeowners received help, most did not. Of those borrowers who received no help, there are many who may be victims of illegal practices designed by lenders to provide those lenders with additional payments during the foreclosure process. The victims to which we refer are those people who fit the following basic scenario (which allows for variation depending on individual circumstances):

(1) Borrower applies for a loan modification and is approved for a three month trial modification.

(2) Borrower, believes, and reasonably so, that the trial modification period is a test designed by the lender to see if he/she can afford and make three timely payments.

(3) Borrower, believing, and reasonably so, that if he/she timely pays the lender the test payment amount each month, the test will be "passed," and a permanent loan modification will be approved.

(4) After making all the payments, exactly as required, under the trial modification period, the lender denies permanent modification.

The above scenario is no different than being asked to pass a test, taking the test and passing, but getting an "F" anyway. A reasonable person should really view this scenario no other way. Only in hindsight after being denied a permanent loan modification does the borrower, realize that the lender just wanted to squeeze three or more payments from him/her just before foreclosing, thereby increasing profits as a result of his/her gullibility. It is no stretch of the imagination to believe that the greedy lender (investor) never intended to provide a permanent loan modification. The borrower reasonably relied on the lender to act in good faith and honor the promises it made. Had that borrower known of the lender's true intentions, he/she never would have made additional payments under the bogus test modification.

Lenders may view breaching a contract as a great way to increase profit from a naive borrower, but breaching a contract subjects the breaching party to liability. Obtaining money by false promise is illegal. What makes such lender's actions not just illegal but truly reprehensible is the fact that many of the lenders who make these false promises were the same lenders who received, and continue to receive, millions, or even billions, of federal bailout money. That bailout money was paid, by United States taxpayers, to help borrowers stay in their homes by providing those homeowners with permanent loan modifications. The federal government and our nation's borrowers have been, and continue to be, swindled by the "banks."

The federal government does not seem to care, as the politicians continue to give more tax payer money to the lenders. Such actions from our politicians should come as no surprise as the politicians handing over the taxpayers' money are likely receiving generous political contributions and unlimited support from the lenders. The borrowers can vote to elect honorable governmental officials and to change contribution laws to prevent future large scale looting of federal money, but as far as getting the loan modification which was promised, a multiple plaintiff civil lawsuit is one of the most effective means with regard to costs, legal fees, and time.

(2) Why Mutiple Plaintiff Lawsuits?

Under Section 378 of the California Code of Civil Procedure (Plaintiffs; Joinder; Relief Granted), "(a) All persons may join in one action as plaintiffs if: (1) They assert any right to relief jointly, severally, or in the alternative, in respect of or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences and if any question of law or fact common to all these persons will arise in the action; or (2) They have a claim, right, or interest adverse to the defendant in the property or controversy which is the subject of the action." and "(b) It is not necessary that each plaintiff be interested as to every cause of action or as to all relief prayed for. Judgment may be given for one or more of the plaintiffs according to their respective right to relief."

The costs involved for an individual client to bring and maintain a lawsuit against a large-scale lender are often prohibitive as such costs can reach thirty thousand dollars or more before the first day of trial. If several plaintiffs share similar "stories" of abuse at the hands of the same defendant, these victims can pool their financial resources together hiring one law firm and filing one lawsuit. By joining forces, the costs of litigation can be made affordable. The cost savings to each individual plaintiff in a multiple plaintiff lawsuit can be substantial. In some multiple plaintiff lawsuits each plaintiff will pay a fixed monthly fee for legal representation, and depending on the number of plaintiffs in a particular lender lawsuit that fixed monthly fee can be as little as one thousand dollars per month.

Courts also enjoy a benefit when plaintiffs with similar cases join together in one lawsuit. One large trial with all of its pretrial motions in front of one judge, using one courtroom instead of many small trials and all of their pretrial motions, in front of multiple judges, using multiple courtrooms saves valuable court time and scarce court funds.

However, not all plaintiffs should join forces with others. While many fact patterns are similar, there may be differences which make one plaintiff in the group hurt himself/herself, because the relief granted may not be exactly what that particular plaintiff wanted or needed. A one-on-one consultation with an attorney should be able to help each client decide whether to pursue a case alone or as a group. Before you can hire Fransen & Molinaro, LLP, you will discuss your individual rights and liabilities, one-on-one, with one of our experienced attorneys and get the information you need to know what is in your best interest.

(3) Why Fransen & Molinaro, LLP?

The Law Offices of Fransen & Molinaro, LLP have been representing California homeowners/borrowers for several years in both federal and state courts throughout California . Partners Nathan Fransen, Esq. and Paul J. Molinaro, Esq. are lawyers as well as brokers. Each were active in the real estate and mortgage fields prior to becoming attorneys, and well-before the "mortgage meltdown." In fact, we have been attorneys and representing borrowers against their lenders before the "mortgage meltdown" occurred. We did not jump on the bandwagon of lawyers suing banks after the real estate crisis. We are simply continuing to do what we have always done " represent borrowers against lenders both in federal and state courts.

Fransen & Molinaro, LLP is proud to have earned a reputation as skilled and professional mortgage lawyers both in court and out of court. While we usually try to settle matters without filing suit, wrongdoers are not often open to discussion until they have been hauled before a judge. Our office encounters many potential clients who have been victims of just about every scam or injustice one can imagine in the real estate and mortgage worlds. Lately, we have been hearing the same story from many of our potential clients: "I got a trial modification, and I paid just like the bank said. Then, after I made all of my payments right on time, the bank said I don't qualify for a loan modification. They are now selling my house."

Many of these potential clients don't have enough money to hire us to represent them in an individual lawsuit. However, they can afford to be part of a multiple plaintiff action. The decision about whether or not to accept these clients, and the plans for how to represent these clients was simple. As part of continuing to meet the needs of our clients, and as just plain good business practice, we needed to make our services affordable while maintaining effective litigation tactics and procedures. Each litigation client who is part of a multiple plaintiff lawsuit will still get the same individual attention and professional care from us. However, each litigation client who is part of a multiple plaintiff lawsuit will pay us less than he/she would have to pay for individual representation.

(4) After I Meet with a Fransen & Molinaro, LLP Attorney and Hire You, What Happens Next?

YOUR PARTICULAR LAWSUIT: You will become a plaintiff in a lawsuit with several other plaintiffs who have similar "fact patterns" as you have and seek similar outcomes as you do. The number of plaintiffs may vary from just two to dozens or more. However, our preferred number of plaintiffs is about ten to twelve per lawsuit. This allows us to customize the lawsuit as much as possible while still maintaining a cost effective practice model.

FORECLOSURE AND EVICTION PREVENTION: Once your lawsuit is filed, we may ask the court for an injunction to prevent your lender from foreclosing during the lawsuit. While there is never a guaranty of having your injunction granted, getting such an injunction would allow you to stay in your home during the entire time the lawsuit winds its way through the court system. This time period can vary from months to years. An injunction can prohibit your lender from foreclosing or attempting any eviction actions until the lawsuit was over, even if you do not pay your mortgage. Of course, there are some limitations, and a judge can order you to post a bond or make mortgage payments during the lawsuit. Thus, as is the case with standard disclaimers, the outcome in your situation may vary, and no guaranties can, or will be, made.

REGULAR UPDATES: About once a week, we will schedule a one to two hour telephonic conference with all of the plaintiffs in your lawsuit and one our attorneys. If you are local and would like to be physically present in our office during the conference call, you may do so. During this conference call, you will be given: (1) updates on your case; (2) time to ask questions; and (3) time to discuss any issues you may have with regard to your case. Of course, if you need individual questions answered or you feel you have a problem than just cannot wait until the next scheduled conference call, you are always welcome to call or meet with one of our attorneys.

PAYMENTS TO US: While this paragraph might "turn off" some readers, and make us seem like we are "all about the money," it would be extremely disingenuous if we pretended that we do not charge for our services by not addressing the fact that we do charge fees before you make your first direct contact with us. As we will be during every aspect of your lawsuit and representation, we will be upfront and truthful with you about your fees and costs. Each client in the multiple plaintiff lawsuit will be required to maintain a certain trust account balance and pay a fixed amount into that trust account each month. Our fee will be paid directly from that trust account each month. Each client in the multiple plaintiff lawsuit will have a separate retainer agreement with us which sets forth our fees and services. A Fransen & Molinaro, LLP attorney will explain that retainer agreement to each and every client.

OUTCOMES AND RESULTS: As we will discuss with you when you hire us, every plaintiff in a lawsuit must have a goal. The goals of some lawsuits may include: the actual cost of something lost or damaged, reimbursement for medical fees, reimbursement for lost wages, monetary compensation for emotional distress, recovery of attorney's fees and costs of litigation, and large cash punitive awards. The goals are your lawsuit, and the this is set forth as a generalization because we will discuss your specific situation with you when you hire us, are more likely to involve getting the court to order your lender to give you a permanent loan modification and to pay all of you attorney's fees and costs of litigation. If you are looking to get a free house or win hundreds of thousands of dollars because you suffered emotionally from not getting your loan modified, this is not the lawsuit for you. Because we are zealous and aggressive attorneys who take pride in getting out clients what they deserve, we want all of our clients to have realistic and achievable goals.

(5) Okay, You Have My Interest. How Do I Find Out If Fransen & Molinaro, LLP Will Take My Case?

The answer is simple. Call us at (951)520-9684 to arrange for a one-on-one meeting with one of our attorneys. If you are local we strongly prefer that you come to our Corona office and meet us in person. If you are unable to visit our office, we can talk directly to you by telephone. The meeting should take no longer than fifteen minutes. During that one-on-one meeting, the attorney will ask you some basic information about your loan modification and determine whether you would fit into one of our multi-plaintiff lawsuits. If you do fit, the attorney will go over the process of hiring our firm and the costs involved.

There is no charge for this initial meeting. However, this meeting is designed only to determine whether our law firm can represent you in a multiple plaintiff lawsuit as set forth above. If you require specific legal advice or other legal services, you can ask to set up a paid consultation when you call (951)520-9684.

Chino Hills resident Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D. is an Attorney at Law, Physician, & Broker. His practice, Fransen & Molinaro, LLP handles matters involving personal injury, medical malpractice, and real estate law. He can be reached at (951) 520-9684.


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